From hothothoops.com dated 28 February … “The Miami Heat will once again participate in the NBA’s Noche Latina league-wide initiative for the seventh year with commemorative games for the month of March that will pay tribute to the Latin Heritage of NBA fans and players. Additionally, the games will also feature special telecasts, giveaways and in-arena festivities, including distinctive NBA team uniforms.
Overall, there will be 15 games league-wide with the Heat participating in three home games and two more on the road. This year, Noche Latina celebrations will begin on March 2 and also take place in Los Angeles (Lakers), Orlando (Magic), Phoenix (Suns), San Antonio (Spurs), Chicago (Bulls), and New York (Knicks).
‘The Noche Latina program is the perfect example of the NBA’s ongoing commitment to celebrate diversity as part of the fabric of our game,” said NBA Vice President of Multicultural Marketing Saskia Sorrosa. “This month long celebration will bring the excitement of the NBA to Hispanic fans in ways that are culturally relevant.’”
I have numerous problems with this but will only focus on a few… Most pressing, if the NBA really wanted to be “culturally relevant” as it pertains to Hispanic fans, couldn’t they at least translate the names of the damn teams participating in the initiative? As I saw “Los Bulls” vs “Los Spurs” scroll across ESPN’s bottom line, I couldn’t help but wonder why the league would go to such lengths to pander to a certain demographic, yet insult everyone’s intelligence during the process. I, for one, would much prefer to tune in to Los Toros vs. Las Espuelas than some boring midseason NBA game. Toros vs. Espuelas sounds intriguing… and also conveys a more committed stance to the Noche Latina theme. Los Bulls vs. Los Spurs on the bottom line tells me that the NBA thinks, “Forget the Hispanic demographic. They’re not watching anyway. If our typical viewers don’t know what the hell a “toro” is, NO ONE will watch.”
Also, it kind of pisses me off that there’s a (fill in demographic) month in any sports league. What’s the purpose? Do they only seek to attract certain viewers/fans during certain months? It seems like this shit only happens in America. I can’t imagine, for example, either the Dominican Republic or Japanese baseball league holding “Rich White Expat” or “Korean Outreach” heritage month, respectively. It just wouldn’t fit. This NBA theme month feels like nothing more than a very weak attempt to sell different jerseys that your friends will make fun of.
If the NBA wanted to reach a new demographic or inform people about Hispanic heritage, they could at least mention a Hispanic player who currently/previously played in the league or had a meaningful impact on the game’s history. I’ve thus far learned nothing about the culture that I did not already know. I find myself asking questions such as, “Is Manu Ginobili ‘Hispanic?’” “Are Argentinians in this demographic?” “Are all ‘white guys’ currently in the league actually from Spanish-speaking European and South American countries?” (except Dirk Nowitzki, who is clearly
Belgian Dutch Swedish American… just kidding) I know a lot of these players speak Spanish… but… is that what “Hispanic” means? THIS is the information that the NBA should be providing me right now. Instead, they’ve given me nothing and as a result, this blog probably makes very little sense.
As a result, all I can think about is how the NBA actually made me reflect on the logic and intent behind “Los Bulls vs. Los Spurs” for over an hour this evening. Oh well… Go Espuelas!